“If you speak of human rights or women rights in Afghanistan you get accused of having converted to Christianity.”
She said it.
KABUL – As Afghanistan’s Parliament debated ways Monday to protect female politicians from assassination, young women attending Kabul University expressed surprise and bewilderment at the debate raging in Canada and Europe over a proposed law that seems to allow men from the Shiite Hazara minority to sexually enslave their wives and imprison them in their homes.
The nearly unanimous view on the campus – arguably the most progressive institution in Afghanistan – was that the West should not involve itself in the country’s cultural and religious affairs.
“This is not a good law. Women should be allowed to do what they want,” said Hamida Hasani, 18, a Hazara architecture student at Kabul University. She said she was familiar with the controversial legislation, which President Hamid Karzai has pledged to urgently review in the face of strong complaints from western governments.
“But we do not want total freedom. We wanted it to be limited and to be within Islam.”
Told of the furor the proposed law has caused in Canada and elsewhere, and about the murder of women’s activist and Kandahar provincial council member Sitara Achakzai on Sunday, Hasani said the problem of women’s rights in Afghanistan belongs to Afghan woman – no one else.
“They don’t know anything about us and our problems,” she said. “If they faced what we have faced with hunger and war, they’d realize what is most important to fight for here. Before they come here they should . . . experience our difficulties.”…
“NATO is here to fight terror but if you do not protect democracy and human rights we may not end up with terrorism but with extremism, which is just as bad,” she said, minutes after condemning Achakzai’s murder in Parliament. “If you speak of human rights or women rights in Afghanistan you get accused of having converted to Christianity.”…
“This law is not something that Karzai should sign because there must be mutual agreement within a marriage, but what westerners have to realize is that it is much better for us than it was before when the Taliban behaved so badly towards us,” said Shapera Azzizulah, 41, a married Tajik Sunni pharmacist who had dropped by for a cup of coffee after picking up a copy of her university degree….
“But westerners want to change Afghanistan for their benefit, not for ours. They have a bad view of our culture. Some of our women imitate their clothes and their ways. Our freedom must come within Islam.”…